coronavirus

Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Sept. 25

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela, have tested positive for COVID-19, the governor's office announced Friday.

The couple was tested after a household employee developed symptoms. The governor isn't experiencing any symptoms; First Lady Pamela Northam currently has mild symptoms, according to a press release.

"As I've been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious," Northam said.

Looking ahead to Halloween, Loudoun County, Virginia, is cautioning residents against traditional trick-or-treating because it is a high-risk activity.

Haunted houses, trick-or-treating out of car trunks (trunk-or-treat), hayrides with those outside your household and any kind of parties also have a higher likelihood of getting you exposed to COVID-19.

County officials had some ideas about how to keep the tradition alive. Homes can set up a folding table in the yard and spread candy far apart. Or, they can rig up a candy chute.

Pumpkin carving, socially-distanced outdoor costume parades, touch-free scavenger hunts and decorating your home are all safer ways to celebrate this spooky season.

And of course, maintaining a social distance and wearing a mask will reduce your risk during any activity where you could encounter someone from outside your household.

Loudoun's recommendations are largely in-line with ones put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cincinnati father Andrew Beattie couldn’t bear to miss out on Halloween this year, so he created a "candy chute" for safe trick-or-treating during the pandemic, using a 6-foot-long chute made from household materials.

What the Data Shows

Aside from the governor contracting COVID-19, there are some positive signs in the overall picture of Virginia’s fight against the virus.

The positivity rate has fallen to an all-time low of 5.1%, which is still higher than Maryland’s (2.51%) and D.C.’s (2.2%).

The seven-day moving average of new cases in Virginia is down to 742. The drop is in large part due to a decline in cases outside of the Northern Virginia region.

Cases in Virginia, excluding Northern Virginia, have declined from 710 to 588 average new cases over the past two weeks. In Northern Virginia, in the same time period, new caseloads declined from 270 to 231.

Seven-day averages in D.C. and Maryland are still stable, currently at 44 and 471 respectively.

In D.C., hospitalizations have climbed to the highest number in two months: 101.

The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 100,000 residents.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington


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How to Stay Safe

There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:

  • Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
  • Always cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
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